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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020
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Keane, O'Dowda and Pearce included as O'Neill names squad for Oman and Serbia games

Seamus Coleman and John O’Shea have also been named despite their injury concerns.

Ireland coach Martin O'Neill.
Ireland coach Martin O'Neill.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

MARTIN O’NEILL has largely stuck with the tried and tested in his 28-man squad as Ireland plan for internationals against Oman and Serbia.

Callum O’Dowda once again gets the nod after impressing in the senior setup just before the Euros while Alex Pearce and Paul McShane have gotten to the nod to add defensive cover in the absence of the suspended Shane Duffy.

Robbie Keane has also been named in O’Neill’s 28-man panel but it is expected that he will hang up his international boots after the friendly against Oman.

The Ireland boss has also included Seamus Coleman and John O’Shea in the squad despite concerns over their fitness; O’Shea limped off for Sunderland last weekend while Coleman is recovering from an ankle injury.

O’Neill could find himself particularly short in defence against Serbia should Coleman and O’Shea not be available as Duffy serves his suspension for his sending off against France at Euro 2016.

David Forde returns to the squad in place of the retired Shay Given while Marc Wilson and Harry Arter are also back in the fold after their injury problems towards the end of last season.

“After the excitement of UEFA EURO 2016 it seems as if we had little time to enjoy some excellent performances during that tournament,” said O’Neill.

“The World Cup qualifying campaign is already upon us and we have a difficult set of fixtures in the coming months.

“The visit of Oman to the Aviva Stadium reminds us of the game they played in Dublin two years ago. That took place immediately before we embarked on our European qualifying campaign.

“This game is ideal preparation for our first qualifier against Serbia in Belgrade a few days later. The Oman game also gives us the chance to play in front of Ireland supporters who enhanced their own reputation in France. We are looking forward to both games.”

Ireland host Oman in a friendly at the Aviva next Wednesday night in their first game since being knocked out of the Euros.

O’Neill’s squad then get their World Cup 2018 qualifying under way on 5 September in Belgrade when they take on Serbia in their first Group D fixture as focus turns to the World Cup in Russia.

Republic of Ireland Squad

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (West Ham United), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), David Forde (Portsmouth*)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie, Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce (Derby County) Paul McShane (Reading), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United), Marc Wilson (Bournemouth), Stephen Ward (Burnley)
Midfielders: James McClean (West Bromwich Albion), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Aiden McGeady, James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Derby County), Stephen Quinn (Reading), David Meyler (Hull City), Harry Arter, Eunan O’Kane (Bournemouth), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), Robbie Brady, Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City)
Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich Town), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City)

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Alan Waldron

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